Environmental Observations

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some time ago I posted a list of organisations that assist in buying rainforest for those conservation-minded people who want to save the rainforest. Yesterday I updated the list and added many elements to the rainforest page.

Buy rainforest to protect it; this is by far the most effective way of preventing rainforest destruction and instigating reforestation - Save The Rainforest

The page also contains information on why we should save the rainforest, including high biodiversity, potential for discovering medicinal plants and carbon sequestering.

There are also some photographs of rainforest plants and insects that I have taken in rainforests in Thailand.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The United Kingdom's Channel 4 has today published some facts on the BP oil spill that may stop the panic amongst wildlife lovers. Whilst this oil spill is obviously a terrible thing, it is worth considering that the impact could have been much worse.

"The Deepwater Horizon spill is 40 miles offshore in a depth of 1 mile and is a steady stream rather than a gush.

The environmental impact has been small, with politicians and media searching out tar balls on beaches and any dead animals, most of which have proven to be unrelated to the current incident.

The main damage so far has been to the outlying island chain off the coast where an already stressed mangrove ecology will likely and tragically be pushed over the edge by this last straw.

Fishing has been stopped in the Gulf region but experience in other incidents has shown that the fishing grounds will open within a few months of the oil being capped off.

The oil itself will decay naturally and rapidly in the warm sunlit waters of the region."

The full article can be seen here: BP oil spill: is Obama's fury justified?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The European Comission has today confirmed that it will back the proposal to list Atlantic and Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

This is the latest support that the EU has given to measures for protecting fast collapsing fish stocks in many seas. These measures are unfortunately often too late and of course upset those in the fishing industry who accuse those who wish to protect fish as destroying their way of life. It would seem that if these fish are not protected, at least for a while, these fishermen's way of life will be forever destroyed anyway.

Predictably Japan has protested against the possibility of listing tuna as an endangered species as it would make trading of the fish illegal. Japan has a histroy of flouting and/or ignoring international bans on whaling and catching of certain fish species.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I am all for scientific progress, particularly when it can be used to further the aims of conservation but a recent article on the discovery of a new species of bulbul in Laos made me wonder if scientists don't need to take a leap into the modern world.

A number of "specimens" were taken from the wild in Laos. Specimens means that birds were captured from the wild and killed to be put in an ornithological collection. The arguement for this is to have something to refer back to in future but with excellent photographical technology, DNA analysis possible from small feather samples it seems to me that the only reason to continue collecting specimens is that this is the way it has always been done. Well, if scientists always went with the way things have always been done very little progress would be made.

You don't need to be a genius to realise that I am not in favour of the killing of these birds, particularly when the population size and distribution is unknown.

The above photograph was taken by Stijn De Win who managed to bring the existence of this bird to the world without killing any of them! Okay, so he didn't manage to record all the biometrics of this bird using this method but photographs of the birds in the hand alongside feather samples would have done just as well as dead birds in my opinion.

I would recommend reading Stijn's report, it is much more readable than the official one: Laos’ Khammouane Bulbul, a new bird species from Laos. -by Stijn De Win / Birding2asia ©

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Few people can have failed to hear of climate change and the effect it will have on sea levels, climate patterns and agriculture, but spare a thought for those poor old penguins who are being cheated out of their icy home.

In actuality not all penguins live in icy habitats, although they do all occur in the southern ocean, but nevertheless they all need a hand from conservation minded people. Issues that affect penguins include habitat loss, hunting, entanglement in fishing nets and oiling.

Fortunately there are a number of charities involved in penguin conservation and you can support them through the ever popular method of adoption.

Here is a list of organisations that I found on the internet that offer penguin adoption:

1. World Wildlife Fund - adopt an Emperor penguin from $25.

2.World Wildlife Fund - Adopt a Rockhopper Penguin, from $25.

3. Defenders of Wildlife - Adopt a Penguin and support conservation work, from $25.

4. Seabirds.org - Adopt and name a Magellanic Penguin and help protect its nest burrow, for $49.

5. Falklands Conservation - Adopt a King Penguin on East Falkland, for £25.

6. Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds - Adopt an African Penguin and pay for its treatment and rehabilitation, for R500.

7. Oamaru Blue penguin Colony - Adopt a Little Blue Penguin in New Zealand and help protect its nest, from NZ$40.

8. Penguin Foundation, Phillip Island - Adopt a Little Blue Penguin in Phillip Island, Australia for AS$75.

You can read about more animal adoption schemes here: Adopt Wild Animals.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I have been saying for a long time that one of the best ways to save rainforests is sinply to buy it where possible. The RSPB in conjunction with Birdlife International and Burung Indonesia has a project in operation which protects and restores rainforest in Sumatra. This is a project well worth supporting.

Why protect Rainforest?
Apart from protecting rainforest for its innate value it is home to an enormous number of species; there is more biodiversity in a lowland rainforest than almost anywhere else.

Rainforest has a huge part to play in combating climate change too. Locked in all the plant material is a lot of carbon that if burned would create carbon dioxide, the most famous greenhouse gas. Not only that, but when rainforest is cut down the soils dry out releasing vast amounts of methane - a gas which has a greenhouse effect about 14 times that of carbon dioxide. Protecting rainforest stops this from happening.
This blog is purely designed to provide me with a device to moan, groan, gripe and waffle about environmental issues; any interest it may have to others is completely coincidental.